Scripture: Training In Righteousness
May 30, 2010
What is the purpose of Scripture? Well, one concise answer is found in 2 Tim. 3:16. It says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” And verse 17 continues, saying there is also a further purpose: “… so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Most of us know these verses well, but often use them to point out the authority of Scripture –that it is indeed inspired by God and the whole of it is His divine words to mankind. Definitely, this is a wonderful and important point. But what I am focusing on right now is not what Scripture is and where it originates (from God’s mouth), but what it is useful for.
Again, here are its uses:
Training in righteousness
Being thoroughly equipped for every good work
Now, with such valuable uses, it does seem strange that it is not then employed more often by those who say they believe it. For should not every believer aspire to be a “man of God” –meaning a servant of God who knows Him and communes with Him –all for God’s glory and the furtherance of the Gospel? And would not this servant want to be thoroughly equipped for every good work? Of course.
But how does he get equipped? By loafing around, puttering around the shop, playing golf, or by watching movies, sports, and news? What about by reading the latest Christian novel or Christian history book? How about by going to seminars about how to evangelize, study the Bible, or preach?
No, fine as those things may be sometimes, the way a servant of God equips himself for every good work –the kind of work that is in line with God’s perfect will for each individual– is to read, study, and meditate on Scripture, the Words of none other but the Living God whose Word is supernatural, living, active, sharp… (Heb. 4:12) and is Jesus Himself. (John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13) For nothing can compare with the Word itself in equipping us to do God’s work. For His work must be done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit does not teach, rebuke, correct, or train us apart from using Scripture. He may use circumstances, devotional books, books on doctrine, conversations with others, sermons, His creation, etc., but these things are used in addition to the Scripture, not separate from it.
I’ve heard many Bible teachers quote this Timothy passage in order to support their ability to teach, rebuke, correct, and train others. Though applying the authority of these verses can be legitimate when used by a gentle and humble Spirit-filled teacher, often it can be misused to manipulate, teach falsehoods, or even spiritually abuse others. So why not apply this passage to our own selves? Can we not all allow the Spirit of God to use His Word in these ways toward us? We should.
And what would the Holy Spirit, in using the Scriptures, teach, rebuke, correct, and train us about? Would it not be about knowing God better and how to obey Him more quickly, eagerly, and perfectly? And what is that called? Wouldn’t it be called “training in righteousness”? Yes. For if we are trained in such, then we are able to fellowship with God and do His bidding in courage, joy, and faith. We’d be thoroughly equipped to pray, praise, and serve Him in every single way He would desire.
In fact, God’s purpose for Scripture –that Word that goes out from His mouth– will not return to Him empty, but will accomplish the purpose for which He sent it. (Isa. 55:11)
May it be so in the lives of every believer… every servant of God.